Things are happening, Humboldt. Are you still indecisive about checking out a live show? Maybe you're tired? Long day at work? So many options on Netflix? Well, here are a few reasons to rally and head out:
1. Going out to see bands often lifts you out of yourself. Not only does an inherent excitement surround seeing the musicians in the flesh, but the communal adulation – think a couple hundred or a couple thousand people singing along together – is the closest some of us secular types get to church.
2. You never know how big a band is going to get. If you like them now, see them while you can. What if you'd skipped going to the Jambalaya on Feb. 25, 1995? You would never have seen the Foo Fighters in a tiny club! What about The Devil Makes Three at then-Muddy Waters? The Waifs at the Red Radish? Sure, most of the bands that stop in Humboldt – aside from the hip hop and reggae acts – probably won't be the next Black Keys or Daft Punk, but hey! You never know. So you might as well go.
3. Sometimes history pivots on a moment. The EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum in Seattle proves that fact repeatedly with a comprehensive history of the grunge era, plus a hall dedicated to Jimi Hendrix and a wing devoted to chronicling decades of Women Who Rock. Immerse yourself in the scene now and one day you, too, might find yourself waxing nostalgic over cassette tape demos and hand drawn flyers displayed behind glass. (Or however they ultimately showcase .mp3s and Facebook invites.)
At this point, you've likely determined if you're going to Reggae on the River and have made your plans – but if you're still deciding, take this into consideration: the Mateel Community Center offers a new option of one-day tickets, no camping. Single day tickets for Friday and Saturday are $75 each, single day tickets for Sunday are $55 and tickets for each of the three days are available at the gate only, to those who arrive by the shuttle or by foot. Full line-up, rules, times, directions, everything you could want at reggaeontheriver.com. Or call the Mateel office at 923-3368.
In less predictable Humboldt musical happenings, Saturday offers a chance to experience SoHum's electric didgeridoo player and recording artist John Hardin. Yes, electric didgeridoo. This performance celebrates the release of two new CDs: Live Electric Didgeridoo, a collection of 12 solos recorded live at recent performances in SoHum, and Um ... Uh ... Gum Eh? which was recorded by Hardin and his life-partner Amy Gustin, together known as Tin Can Luminary. For Um ... Uh ... Gum Eh? Hardin created a collection of unique electronic instruments from objects ranging from cigar boxes, yard lamps and tin cans to educational alphabet learning toys and electronic toy keyboards he found at local thrift stores. Not sold? Hardin vows the experience will amaze: "You might think that two hours of solo didgeridoo music will be really boring, but you couldn't be more wrong. ... I've finally found the sound I was born to make, and people really dig it. Come on by. You'll be blown away. I promise."
Thursday, Mad River Brewing and Chris Parreira usher in August with a nightlong tribute to alt-country angel-voiced folk goddess Gillian Welch. Performers include Josephine Johnson, The Lonesome Roses, Strix Vega's Colin Begell, Jo Kuzelka, Trillium, Rachel Beccaria with Rich Kearns and Zach Zwerdling, and Hot Wings. How do they decide who is doing which songs? Will everyone wrap up with a group jam of "Look at Miss Ohio" or "Everything is Free Now?" Is heartbreak inevitable? And if so, is it cathartic? These questions and more will undoubtedly be answered. Oh – and while everything isn't free, this sure-to-be-lovely evening is. Things start early at 6 p.m.
The musical appreciation continues in Blue Lake on Saturday with the 13th annual Buddy Brown Blues Festival, which kicks off at 11 a.m., features some of the best blues musicians in Humboldt County and is a major fund-raiser for the Humboldt Folklife Society's Folk School program. Full line-up and details at humboldtfolklife.org.
Saturday night, of course, is Arts Alive. Music abounds, so go enjoy! Bring some dollars for the buskers.
Whether you've been celebrating summer with gusto or fretting that the long, warmer days are passing by too quickly, the perfect show awaits on Wednesday, Aug. 7, when the Summer Twins deliver their surfy-garagey-dance-erific sounds at the Palm Lounge. The Monster Women – possibly Humboldt's most cheerful band – join. Show's at 9 p.m. and is 21-and-over. (Pro tip: This show is also the perfect excuse to shop for some beachy new threads at Little Shop of Hers, owned by The Monster Women's Courtney Jaxon.)
Looking ahead, the last week of August promises to be a doozy – something to do with the students returning for the fall semester? Whatever the reason, Arcata's west side steps up with the Creamery Festival Friday, Aug. 23 through Sunday, Aug. 25. Humboldt Brews brings back Zepparella on Saturday, Aug. 24 and Les Claypool on Monday, Aug. 26 (advance tickets to both shows recommended). San Francisco's Wild Eyes – featuring at least one former member of KSLG 94.1 FM faves Floating Goat – deliver the heavy rock to the Alibi, also on Saturday, Aug. 24. Plus Australian electronica wunderkind Flume performs in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room on Tuesday, Aug. 27. So, just block off that week now.
Before we finish, a note of caution. The unfortunate truth is, sometimes things change. The best of plans go astray and all that. Bands cancel. Venues screw up. While we here at the Journal strive to provide the most accurate information, every so often – like last week – unforeseen circumstances mean a show will be at, say, the Works instead of the Palm Lounge. It's never a bad idea to double-check online or with a phone call.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online ... Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org. •